How are you treating your books?

We know your county records are irreplaceable and your charge is to protect them. That's why DPS employs our Certified Conservators; to offer you the best counsel on how to protect, conserve and repair your books.

Check out these helpful tips for handling and storing books, courtesy of Minnesota State University.

Taking care when handling any collection item, especially functional items like books with flexing parts, is one of the more effective, cost-efficient, and easily achieved preservation measures.

Take proper care when handling books by:

  • Having clean hands and a clean area to use the book

  • Keeping food and drink away

  • Removing the book from the shelf by gripping on both sides of the spine at the middle of the book (push in the neighboring book on both sides to get a good grip), instead of tugging at the top of the spine

  • Not forcing a book to lie open to 180 degrees; instead, prop up the covers of an opened book to decrease the opening angle

  • Not using paper clips, "dog ear" folding, or acidic inserts to bookmark pages

  • Not using rubber bands, self-adhesive tape, any kind of "leather dressing," and/or glue on books

Proper Storage of Books

Good storage significantly prolongs the life and usability of books and includes:

  • A cool (room temperature or below), relatively dry (about 35% relative humidity), clean, and stable environment (avoid attics, basements, and other locations with high risk of leaks and environmental extremes)

  • Minimal exposure to all kinds of light; no exposure to direct or intense light

  • Distance from radiators and vents

  • Regular dusting and housekeeping

  • Shelving books of similar size together, so that the face of the covers are maximally supported by the neighbors on each side

  • Keeping upright shelved books straight and not leaning (storing books lying flat is also good)

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